A Communist Party member in the 1930s, Camus became an independent political critic in the 1950s: an outspoken opponent of all forms of totalitarianism, he defended the libertarian principles of Western democracy. Along the way he involved himself in far-reaching intellectual quarrels such as that over his own L’Homme révolté (The Rebel) with Jean-Paul Sartre, which this book examines in fascinating detail. Albert Camus offers illuminating insights into the relationship between intellectuals and politics; a serious contribution to the history of social, political, and ethical ideas.
A critical biography of the most celebrated religious icon painter in medieval Russia.
A monk from Moscow, Andrey Rublev (c.1360–c.1430) is heralded as the greatest painter of religious icons and frescos in medieval Russia. Nevertheless, his life remains largely mysterious to historians and devotees alike. In this book, Robin Milner-Gulland provides the first English-language account of the artist’s life as a window into the world of medieval Moscow. Beautifully illustrated with previously unpublished images, Andrey Rublev offers an accessible introduction to the artist’s medieval world and his continuing significance today.
With Artist as Author, Christa Noel Robbins provides the first extended study of authorship in mid-20th century abstract painting in the US. Taking a close look at this influential period of art history, Robbins describes how artists and critics used the medium of painting to advance their own claims about the role that they believed authorship should play in dictating the value, significance, and social impact of the art object. Robbins tracks the subject across two definitive periods: the “New York School” as it was consolidated in the 1950s and “Post Painterly Abstraction” in the 1960s. Through many deep dives into key artist archives, Robbins brings to the page the minds and voices of painters Arshile Gorky, Jack Tworkov, Helen Frankenthaler, Kenneth Noland, Sam Gilliam, and Agnes Martin along with those of critics such as Harold Rosenberg and Rosalind Krauss. While these are all important characters in the polemical histories of American modernism, this is the first time they are placed together in a single study and treated with equal measure, as peers participating in the shared late modernist moment.
Although known primarily as the irreverent but dazzlingly witty playwright who penned The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde was also an able and farsighted critic. He was an early advocate of criticism as an independent branch of literature and stressed its vital role in the creative process. Scholars continue to debate many of Wilde's critical positions.
Included in Richard Ellmann's impressive collection of Wilde's criticism, The Artist as Critic, is a wide selection of Wilde's book reviews as well as such famous longer works as "The Portrait of Mr. W.H.," "The Soul Man under Socialism," and the four essays which make up Intentions. The Artist as Critic will satisfy any Wilde fan's yearning for an essential reading of his critical work.
"Wilde . . . emerges now as not only brilliant but also revolutionary, one of the great thinkers of dangerous thoughts."—Walter Allen, New York Times Book Review
"The best of Wilde's nonfictional prose can be found in The Artist as Critic."—Michael Dirda, Washington Post Book World
In recent years, the museum and gallery have increasingly become self-reflexive spaces, in which the relationship between art, its display, its creators, and its audience is subverted and democratized. One effect of this has been a growing place for artists as curators, and in The Artist as Curator Celina Jeffery brings together a group of scholars and artists to explore the many ways that artists have introduced new curatorial ways of thinking and talking about artistic culture. Taking a deliberately multidisciplinary and cross-cultural focus, The Artist as Curator will fill a gap in museum and curatorial studies, offering a thorough and diverse treatment of various approaches to the historical and changing role of the artist as curator that should appeal to scholars, curators, and artists alike.
Although Pablo Picasso's name is virtually synonymous with modernity, his late graphics repeatedly turn back to the traditional theme of the artist and model. Had the aging artist turned reactionary, or is Picasso's treatment of the theme more subversive than anyone has suspected?
In this innovative study, Karen L. Kleinfelder rejects the claim that Picasso's later work was a failure. The failing, she claims, lies more in the way we typically have read the images, treating them merely as reflections of an "old-age" style or of the artist's private life.
Focusing on graphics dating from 1954 to 1970, Kleinfelder shows how Picasso plays with the artist-model theme to extend, subvert, and parody both the possibilities and limits of representation. For Kleinfelder, Picasso's graphic work both mystifies and demystifies the creative process, venerates and mocks the effects of aging and the artist's self-image as a living "old master," and acknowledges and denies his own fear of death.
Using recent interpretive and literary theory, Kleinfelder probes the three-way relationship between artist, model, and canvas. The dynamics of this relationship provided Picasso with an open-ended textual framework for exploring the dichotomies of man/woman, self/other, and vitality/mortality. What unfolds is the artist's struggle not only with the impossibility of representing the model on canvas, but also with the inevitability of his own death.
Kleinfelder explores how Picasso's means of pursuing these issues allows him to defer closure on a long, productive career. By focusing on the graphics rather than the paintings, Kleinfelder contradicts the primacy of the painted "masterpiece"; she steers the reader away from the assumption that the artist must work toward creating a final body of work that signifies the culmination of his search for a coherent identify.
Picasso's search, she argues, realizes itself in the creative process. She interprets the late graphics not as a biographical statement but as a tool for investigating the possibilities of representation within the limits of Picasso's medium and his lifetime. Richly illustrated, Kleinfelder's book will open up new approaches to the late work of this complex artist.
Controversial, flamboyant, contentious, brilliant--Thomas Hart Benton (1889-1975) was certainly all of those. Few American artists have stirred so much love and hatred as he did in a career that lasted almost seventy years. Although his painting aroused much controversy, perhaps equally as much was created by his words, for his piercing wit, profane sarcasms, and insightful condemnations were fired off without restraint. In this fiery and provocative autobiography, Benton presents an intriguing records of American art and society during his lifetime.
The first installment of this work was published in 1937, but Benton continued his life story in chapters added to editions published in 1951 and 1968. This new edition includes seventy-six drawings that add much to his narrative, plus a foreword discussing Benton's place in American art and an afterword covering his career after 1968, both written by art historian Matthew Baigell.
Although Benton is most famous as a regionalist painter and muralist, his complex and fascinating career brought him into contact with many of the most important artists and thinkers of the century, including Jackson Pollock, Grant Wood, Julian Huxley, Felix Frankfurter, Eugene Debbs, John Reed, and Harry Truman. While living in New York and on Martha's Vineyard in the 1920s and 1930s, Benton often associated with leading intellectuals and radicals. However, when his evolving principles of art led him away from an interest in Marxism, he was bitterly attacked by many of his former friends, and his account of that time reveals strikingly the fierce critical battles he faced in trying to establish his own artistic vision.
Critics on the Left were not his only opponents, however, and equally revealing are his responses to the moral condemnations heaped on his murals done for the states of Indiana and Missouri and on his realistic nudes of the late 1930s.
Throughout his account, from descriptions of his boyhood in southwest Missouri, his travels, and his career to discussions of specific works of art and other artists, Benton portrays people and events as vividly in words as he does in his paintings.
What was the place of the artist in a new society? How would he thrive where monarchy, aristocracy, and an established church—those traditional patrons of painting, sculpture, and architecture—were repudiated so vigorously? Neil Harris examines the relationships between American cultural values and American society during the formative years of American art and explores how conceptions of the artist's social role changed during those years.
In his Foreword to this edition, Jean Charlot says: "An unusual feature of Orozco's letters is the great deal that he has to say about art. That one artist writing to another would emphasize art as his subject seems normal enough to the American reader. Yet, within the context of the Mexico of those days, the fact remains exceptional. The patria Orozco was leaving behind had, even from the point of view of its artists, many cares more pressing than art." The letters and unpublished writings of Orozco from this period (1925-1929) describe an important period of transition in the artist's life, from his departure from Mexico, almost as a defeated man, to the period just before he received the great mural commissions—Pomona, The New School for Social Research in New York, Dartmouth—that were to bring him lasting international fame.
Dorothea Tanning, one of the twentieth-century's most original and provocative painters, delivers a vivid account of a fascinating life lived as an artist among artists. Tanning reveals not only her life story, but the irresistibly creative mind that propelled her to live it. From the small town of Galesburg, Illinois, to the art hubs of New York and Paris, Tanning traveled the world of Surrealism and went beyond it, with fellow explorers Virgil Thompson, George Balanchine, Alberto Giacometti, Dylan Thomas, Truman Capote, Joan Miró, James Merrill, and Max Ernst, to whom she was married for over thirty years. Their life together forms an important and moving part of her unforgettable story; a story which, spanning almost a century, magically unfolds through Tanning's incandescent prose.
In 1904 a young Danish woman met a Sami wolf hunter on a train in Sweden. This chance encounter transformed the lives of artist Emilie Demant and the hunter, Johan Turi. In 1907–8 Demant went to live with Sami families in their tents and on migrations, later writing a lively account of her experiences. She collaborated with Turi on his book about his people. On her own and later with her husband Gudmund Hatt, she roamed on foot through Sami regions as an ethnographer and folklorist. As an artist, she created many striking paintings with Sami motifs. Her exceptional life and relationships come alive in this first English-language biography.
In recounting Demant Hatt's fascinating life, Barbara Sjoholm investigates the boundaries and influences between ethnographers and sources, the nature of authorship and visual representation, and the state of anthropology, racial biology, and politics in Scandinavia during the first half of the twentieth century.
Bob Dylan is an iconic American artist, whose music and performances have long reflected different musical genres and time periods. His songs tell tales of the Civil War, harken back to 1930s labor struggles, and address racial violence at the height of the civil rights movement, helping listeners to think about history, and history making, in new ways. While Dylan was warned by his early mentor, Dave Van Ronk, that, “You’re just going to be a history book writer if you do those things. An anachronism,” the musician has continued to traffic in history and engage with a range of source material—ancient and modern—over the course of his career.
In this beautifully crafted book, Freddy Cristóbal Domínguez makes a provocative case for Dylan as a historian, offering a deep consideration of the musician’s historical influences and practices. Utilizing interviews, speeches, and the close analysis of lyrics and live performances, Bob Dylan in the Attic is the first book to consider Dylan’s work from the point of view of historiography.
A revealing look at the commercial strategy and diverse output of this canonical Renaissance artist.
In this vivid account, Ana Debenedetti reexamines the life and work of Renaissance artist Sandro Botticelli through a novel lens: his business acumen. Focusing on the organization of Botticelli’s workshop and the commercial strategies he devised to make his way in Florence’s very competitive art market, Debenedetti looks with fresh eyes at the remarkable career and output of this pivotal artist within the wider context of Florentine society and culture. Uniquely, Debenedetti evaluates Botticelli’s celebrated works, like The Birth of Venus, alongside less familiar forms such as tapestry and embroidery, showing the breadth of the artist’s oeuvre and his talent as a designer across media.
In most of his half century of writing, John Dos Passos consistently tried to capture and define the American character. The complete range of his work builds to Dos Passos' concept of "contemporary chronicle," his own name for his fiction. In this first study of all Dos Passos' writing, Linda W. Wagner examines his fiction, poetry, drama, travel essays, and history—a body of work that evokes a vivid image of America meant to be neither judgmental nor moralistic. From Manhattan Transfer to U. S. A. to District of Columbia to The Thirteenth Chronicle and Mid-century, Wagner illuminates Dos Passos' work with fresh readings and new interpretations. She makes extensive use of unpublished manuscript material so that this is a casebook of Dos Passos' interest in craft and method as well as a thematic study. In addition, this volume chronicles the years during which Dos Passos wrote—the immediate post-World War I period through the twenties and thirties and well into the fifties. This is an important book both in literary criticism and in American social history.
“[A] spirited and deeply researched project…. [Benkemoun’s] affection for her subject is infectious. This book gives a satisfying treatment to a woman who has been conﬁned for decades to a Cubist’s limited interpretation.” — Joumana Khatib, The New York Times
Merging biography, memoir, and cultural history, this compelling book, a bestseller in France, traces the life of Dora Maar through a serendipitous encounter with the artist’s address book.
In search of a replacement for his lost Hermès agenda, Brigitte Benkemoun’s husband buys a vintage diary on eBay. When it arrives, she opens it and finds inside private notes dating back to 1951—twenty pages of phone numbers and addresses for Balthus, Brassaï, André Breton, Jean Cocteau, Paul Éluard, Leonor Fini, Jacqueline Lamba, and other artistic luminaries of the European avant-garde.
After realizing that the address book belonged to Dora Maar—Picasso’s famous “Weeping Woman” and a brilliant artist in her own right—Benkemoun embarks on a two-year voyage of discovery to learn more about this provocative, passionate, and enigmatic woman, and the role that each of these figures played in her life.
Longlisted for the prestigious literary award Prix Renaudot, Finding Dora Maar is a fascinating and breathtaking portrait of the artist.
This work received support from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States through their publishing assistance program.
Immensely skillful and inventive, Hans Holbein molded his approach to art-making during a period of dramatic transformation in European society and culture: the emergence of humanism, the impact of the Reformation on religious life, and the effects of new scientific discoveries. Most people have encountered Holbein’s work—think of King Henry VIII and Holbein’s memorable portrait springs to mind, forever defining the Tudor king for posterity—but little is widely known about the artist himself. This overview of Holbein looks at his art through the changes in the world around him. Offering insightful and often surprising new interpretations of visual and historical sources that have rarely been addressed, Jeanne Nuechterlein reconstructs what we know of the life of this elusive figure, illuminating the complexity of his world and the images he generated.
What drives an artist to create? And are there common traits that successful artists possess? In The Making of an Artist, Kristin G. Congdon draws on her years of studying and teaching art at all levels—from universities to correctional settings—to identify three traits that are regularly found in successful artists: desire, courage, and commitment. In this collection Congdon explores each of those traits, as well as giving ethnographic case studies of six visual artists from diverse backgrounds and locations whose practices embody them. Marrying the work of biography, journalism, sociology, and psychology, the book opens up the often mysterious process of making art, showing us how those characteristics play into it, as well as how other factors, such as trauma, madness, class, and gender, affect the ways that people approach the creative process.
Powerfully insightful and fully accessible, The Making of an Artist will be an invaluable resource for practicing artists, those just setting out on artistic careers, and art teachers alike.
The Owls Are Not What They Seem is a selective history of modern and contemporary engagements with animals in the visual arts and how these explorations relate to the evolution of scientific knowledge regarding animals. Arnaud Gerspacher argues that artistic knowledge, with its experimental nature, ability to contain contradictions, and more capacious understanding of truth-claims, presents a valuable supplement to scientific knowledge when it comes to encountering and existing alongside nonhuman animals and life worlds.
Though critical of art works involving animals that are unreflective and exploitative, Gerspacher’s exploration of aesthetic practices by Allora & Calzadilla, Pierre Huyghe, Agnieszka Kurant, Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook, Martin Roth, David Weber-Krebs, and others suggests that, alongside scientific practices, art has much to offer in revealing the otherworldly qualities of animals and forging ecopolitical solidarities with fellow earthlings.
***Winner PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Book Award***
“A fine, taut analysis of the great African American athlete, singer, actor, and political activist.” —Choice, Highly Recommended
Paul Robeson should be remembered today as the forerunner of Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Muhammad Ali. He sacrificed his fame and fortune a performer and athlete in order to fight for the rights of African Americans during the time of Jim Crow and U.S. Apartheid.
A world-famous singer and actor, a trained lawyer, an early star of American professional football and a polyglot who spoke over a dozen languages: these could be the crowning achievements of a life well-lived. Yet for Paul Robeson the higher calling of social justice led him to abandon both the NFL and Hollywood and become one of the most important political activists of his generation, a crusader for freedom and equality who battled both Jim Crow and US Senator Joseph McCarthy during the communist witch hunt of the 1950s.
In Paul Robeson: The Artist as Revolutionary, Gerald Horne discovers within Robeson's remarkable and revolutionary life the story of the twentieth century's great political struggles: against racism, against colonialism, against poverty—and for international socialism. Chapters include:
*”The Best Known American in the World" *Rising Revolutionary *From Moscow to Madrid *"Black Stalin"? *Robeson: Primary Victim of the "Blacklist" *Triumph—and Tragedy *Death of a Revolutionary
In the Introduction, Horne writes: “Paul Robeson—activist, artist, athlete—experienced a dramatic rise and fall, perhaps unparalleled in U.S. history. From mingling with the elite of London society and Hollywood in the 1930s, by the time he died in 1976, he was a virtual recluse in a plain abode in a working-class neighborhood of Philadelphia. What helps to explicate this tragic art of his life is a fateful decision he made when fascism was rising: he threw in his lot with those battling for socialism and decide to sacrifice his thriving artistic career on behalf of the struggle against Jim Crow—or U.S. apartheid.”
This critical and searching biography provides an opportunity for readers to comprehend the triumphs and tragedies of the revolutionary progressive movement of which Paul Robeson was not just a part, but perhaps its most resonant symbol.
As one of the most innovative and enlightened painters of the early Italian Renaissance, Piero della Francesca brought space, luminosity, and unparalleled subtlety to painting. In addition, Piero invented the role of the modern artist by becoming a traveler, a courtier, a geometrician, a patron, and much else besides. In this nuanced account of this great painter’s life and art, Machtelt Brüggen Israëls reconstructs how Piero came of age. Successfully demystifying the persistent notion of Piero’s art as enigmatic, she reveals the simple and stunning intentions behind his work.
In the liberal West as in socialist Yugoslavia, the films of Aleksandar Petrovic dramatize how enforced dogmatism can corrode any political system. A case study of the oft-overlooked Yugoslav director’s colorful and eventful career, A Portrait of the Artist as a Political Dissident explores how Petrovic developed specific political and social themes in his films. A response to the political vagaries of his time, these anti-dogmatic views were later to become a trademark of his work. Although interest in socialist Yugoslavia and its legacy has risen steadily since the 1990s, the history of Yugoslav cinema has been scarcely covered, and this book marks a fresh contribution to a burgeoning area of interest.
As women entered the field of cultural production in unprecedented numbers in nineteenth-century France and Britain, they gradually forged a place for themselves, however tenuous, in artistic movements and exhibitions, in academies and salons, and finally in the public imagination. Portraits of the Artist as a Young Woman: Painting and the Novel in France and Britain, 1800–1860 focuses on a decisive period in that process of professional self-invention and maps out the concrete and symbolic roles played by women painters, real and fictional, in the construction of female artistic identity in the aesthetic and the public spheres. Alexandra K. Wettlaufer examines the diverse and complex ways canonical and non-canonical women painters and novelists—including Anne Brontë, Sydney Owenson, Margaret Gillies, Marceline Desbordes-Valmore, George Sand, and Hortense Haudebourt-Lescot—figured and brought forth the radical image of a female subject representing the world.
Wettlaufer brings to light a rich and nearly forgotten culture of women’s artistic production, allowing us to understand the nineteenth-century in more complex and nuanced ways across the borders of gender, genre, and nation. In her close readings of paintings by women and novels about women painting, she charts the political and cultural resonances of this artistic self-representation, tracing its evolution through themes of “The Studio” (Part I), “Cosmopolitan Visions” (Part II), and “The Portrait” (Part III). By pairing painting and literature in a single study that also considers works from two distinct but closely related cultures, Portraits of the Artist as a Young Woman locates the interpretation of these works in the dialogic context in which they were created and consumed, highlighting aesthetic and political intersections between nineteenth-century British and French art, literature, and feminism that are too often elided by the disciplinary boundaries of scholarship.
In an attempt to subject representative texts of a dozen ancient authors to a more or less Socratic inquiry, the noted scholar George Anastaplo suggests in The Thinker as Artist how one might usefully read as well as enjoy such texts, which illustrate the thinking done by the greatest artists and how they “talk” among themselves across the centuries. In doing so, he does not presume to repeat the many fine things said about these and like authors, but rather he discusses what he himself has noticed about them, text by text.
Drawing upon a series of classical authors ranging from Homer and Sappho to Plato and Aristotle, Anastaplo examines issues relating to chance, art, nature, and divinity present in the artful works of philosophers and other thinkers.
As he has done in his earlier work, Anastaplo mines the great texts to help us discover who we are and what we should be. Some of the works used are familiar, while others were once better known than they are now. The approach to all of them is fresh and provocative, demonstrating the value of such texts in showing the reader what to look for and how to talk about matters that have always engaged thoughtful human beings.
These imaginative yet disciplined discussions of important texts of ancient Greek thought and of Raphael’s The School of Athens should appeal to both the specialist and the general reader.
Often featuring lighthouses, bridges, or quaint country homes, Thomas Kinkade’s soft-focus landscapes have permeated American visual culture during the past twenty years, appearing on everything from Bibles to bedsheets to credit cards. Kinkade sells his work through his shopping-mall galleries, QVC, the Internet, and Christian stores. He is quite possibly the most collected artist in the United States. While many art-world and academic critics have dismissed him as a passing fad or marketing phenomenon, the contributors to this collection do not. Instead, they explore his work and its impact on contemporary art as part of the broader history of American visual culture. They consider Kinkade’s imagery and career in relation to nineteenth-century Currier and Ives prints and Andres Serrano’s Piss Christ, the collectibles market and the fine-art market, the Thomas Kinkade Museum and Cultural Center, and “The Village at Hiddenbrooke,” a California housing development inspired by Kinkade’s paintings. The conceptual artist Jeffrey Vallance, the curator of the first major museum exhibition of Kinkade’s art and collectibles, recounts his experiences organizing that show. All of the contributors draw on art history, visual culture, and cultural studies as they seek to understand Kinkade’s significance for both art and audiences. Along the way, they delve into questions about beauty, class, kitsch, religion, and taste in contemporary art.
Contributors. Julia Alderson, Alexis L. Boylan , Anna Brzyski, Seth Feman, Monica Kjellman-Chapin, Micki McElya, Karal Ann Marling, David Morgan, Christopher Pearson, Andrea Wolk Rager, Jeffrey Vallance